It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. John “Jack” Echternach, Sr PT, DPT, Ed.D, ECS, FAPTA on July 11, 2013. The physical therapy profession has lost another tremendous leader, advocate and mentor to many clinicians and professors. Dr. E, as everyone called him, started the physical therapy program at my alma mater, Old Dominion University. For those outside of ODU and the state of Virginia, you may know his work if you studied EMG and NCV in school. He also gave over 30 years of service to the APTA.
Dr. E stopped teaching full time at Old Dominion University the year I started so unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to learn formally under him. However, I did get to know him during a few years that I was active with the Virginia Physical Therapy Association.
Even at his advancing age, he was still at majority of the state’s meetings and conferences, sitting with a pen and paper jotting down notes and ideas. He was always well spoken and expressed his thoughts on how to run the organization for the better. Just a few years ago, when he was in his late ’70s, he sent me a powerpoint that he was presenting on the topic of promoting an annual visit to a physical therapist. I admire his tenacity and deep impact that he had in furthering the profession.
He is an inspiration to stay involved and continue learning through the years. Even though my time spent with him was short, I am a better person because of it. You have made a major influence on the ODU community, my career and the profession as a whole. You will be missed.
You can read the obituary here.